Author(s)

Margaret Levicoff

Date Approved

6-3-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Gary, Alison

Subject(s)

Unsafe sex;Young gay men;Alcoholism

Disciplines

Psychiatric and Mental Health

Abstract

Homosexual men between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a disproportionate majority of new sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, worldwide (Harper, 2007). Men who have sex with men (MSM) more frequently engage in riskier health behaviors, such as drinking, substance use, and risky sexual practices than their heterosexual counterparts (Hamilton & Mahalik, 2009). The current study sampled 150 self-identified homosexual men between the ages of 18 through 30 to assess whether or not level of outness influenced the likelihood of an individual to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Participants completed an online survey that measured each individual's level of outness, mental health symptoms, likelihood to engage in risky sexual behavior, and likelihood to suffer from alcohol and drug abuse. A linear regression did not yield a significant relationship between outness and risky sexual behavior. Linear regressions and Pearson's r correlations highlighted a significant relationship between both positive and negative mental health symptoms in relation to outness. Lastly, an ANOVA showed a significant relationship between level of outness and alcohol abuse issues. Implications for the findings discuss limitations such as measurement selection and inclusion criteria and possible directions for future research.

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